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Alumni

Below are a few profiles of our alumni sorted by the kinds of careers they have chosen.

Academic

Michal Nahman

"When I began my studies in Health and Society at York University, my goals were to learn about the politics of women's health. The courses I took in Health and Society at York prepared me for a career in feminist technoscience studies and medical anthropology.

"After completing my degree at York I went on to do a doctorate in anthropology and sociology at Lancaster University (UK). I conducted ethnographic research in laboratories, clinics and in peoples' homes, into the transnational trade in women's eggs between women in Israel and Romania. This research was written up as my doctoral dissertation, entitled, 'Israeli Extraction: An Ethnographic Study of Ova Donation and National Imaginaries.'

"I'm now working on turning this into a book. I am still based at Lancaster University, as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. I am also member of the Centre for Science Studies. I teach courses relating to women's bodies and biomedicine, specifically on themes of reproduction, gender, race, citizenship and the politics of health."

Community

Dara Vlajkovic

Dara Vlajkovic

"I started my undergraduate degree in the Kinesiology & Health Science Program, but after my second year I transferred into the Health & Society Program. I realized that Kinesiology took too narrow of an approach and I was excited to discover that in HESO I could study the social, political, economic and cultural forces that determine and impact the health of individuals, families and communities.

"The Health & Society Program offered a comprehensive understanding of health and illness through an interdisciplinary lens. The program helped me develop critical thinking, writing, research, evaluating, analytical, organizational, time-management and public speaking skills. The program also provides a solid foundation for students considering graduate school.

"Currently, I work as an Employment Resource Consultant. I assist at-risk youth with career exploration, resume building, interview skills and job search techniques. My education and experience in HESO as well as group discussions, projects and presentations helped prepare me for this dynamic role."

Carla Smallfield

Carla Smallfield

"After I graduated from the Health & Society program I pursued my passion for helping children by attending teachers college at Lakehead University. Afterward, I was hired by the Peel District School Board and am currently a Grade 3 teacher. Due to my studies at York I can better understand the society my students are growing up in and help prepare them for the challenges they face. The courses in this program give students the whole picture; the lives and health concerns of all people — from children to the aging — are examined in detail. Personally, this program has also helped me understand the importance of health for my family. I have made better food choices and have become involved in the fitness industry.

"Throughout my time at York there were many courses that impacted me. Women in Health was by far my favourite course; it opened my eyes to the many issues that face women around the world, not just in our communities. Disability and Society is also a course I would recommend. Through this course I discovered my love for helping children when we were given the opportunity to volunteer at Variety Village. I have taken the skills I learned in Disability and Society into my classroom to ensure that all of my students are treated with equity and given the tools and accommodations that will help them succeed."

Hadas Elkayam

Hadas Elkayam

"As early as I can remember, I have always had a strong desire to help others, and so I pursued an undergraduate degree in Psychology. When concluding that individuals cannot be studied, and subsequently explained, as if they are in isolation of one another, I took on Health and Society as a double major. These two disciplines combined have allowed me to attain the capability of looking at a given situation from a variety of aspects, and in turn, strengthen my critical thinking and analytical abilities.

"Since graduating from this program, I have successfully completed a Master of Public Health, and am now employed at Reena and Community Living York South, as a Community Support Worker. Being in a position to provide support, whether I take the role of advocate, counsellor, or role model for community appropriate behaviour, is extremely gratifying to me."

Mandy Greenspan

"The first course I took in HESO was merely to fulfill my Foundation course degree requirement—I didn't even know HESO was a program—but I loved the course so much that I decided to pursue HESO as a major. Although my current career does not involve the program, my everyday life in all other areas and who I am has been strongly influenced by HESO. It has shown me how to be a critical layperson in the health field, including regarding the spread of illness, third world development, how the local medical system affects me and my family, and what and how my family and I consume and purchase food. Furthermore, having recently become pregnant, I am very educated as to what options I have and their implications. My health and health education would not be the same without the HESO program. Thank you!"

Health Care Delivery

Emily H. Kipp

Emily Kipp

"I stumbled into a degree in Health and Society after realizing that Kinesiology wasn't the right career for me, and I'm glad that I did! Having a HESO degree has provided me with a solid health education and a foundation to build on to achieve my career goals of being a nurse. I learned the importance of looking at health and wellness in its social context and looking for answers 'outside the box.'

"I am currently a registered practical nurse in the ambulatory care outpatient clinics at the Ottawa Hospital, where I have used much of the 'holistic' theory that I earned at York. I look beyond the surface and integrate the broader determinants of health to improve overall patient care."

George Axiotis

George Axiotis

"Health & Society is definitely a degree major you should consider when applying to York. HESO has given me some of the best memories. What I liked most about HESO were the professors. Every instructor helped change my life forever; it was HESO that convinced me to pursue a career in medicine. Currently, I work at Toronto Western Hospital in the Medical Imaging Department of the Division of Neuroradiology/Vascular Surgery. I'm also the CEO/President of Master's Touch Ltd. Those seeking a career in a healthcare profession should definitely enroll in Health & Society. I can't recommend it highly enough."

Cindy McCully

Cindy McCully

"Health & Society teaches you about the broader determinates of health and how to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and think of new ways to look at old issues. A Health & Society degree can point you in many directions - do you like outreach and to be in the spotlight or are you quiet and happy to be in the background supporting wonderful work you believe in? Be creative, innovative, open minded and you will find your place. As long as you work for an organization that you believe in, you will find a way to apply your Health & Society knowledge.

"My first job after graduating was as a support worker in a community living project. The Health & Society degree opened the door to that position, allowing me to integrate social, emotional and physical health while working with some tremendous special needs adults. When it was time to stop working shifts, I accepted a position with the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse (OPC) where I have worked since 1994, working first with the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition (OHCC) and then with the accounting team as Financial Officer. Working for a not for profit organization gives me the opportunity to connect with many valuable health organizations and initiatives."

Health Administration/Management

Robert O'Neill

Robert O'Neill

"I believe that the Health & Society Program is an excellent base for a career in health care management. I started with a college diploma in Recreation Management and then linked it with my Health & Society degree.

"This combination has given me a real advantage in the job market. Moreover, unlike health management programs, Health & Society is broad-based and interdisciplinary, giving me strong social insights that many of my peers lack.

"I work as a Residence Program Manager at a Toronto nursing home where I am in charge of the physiotherapy dept, recreation department, restorative care, and social work. This position requires an in-depth appreciation of social issues surrounding the aged, a familiarity with basic medical terminology, and an understanding of the Canadian health care system.

"Health & Society has provided me with valuable insight into all these areas and has helped me to see how individual health needs to be understood in the context of social, economic and political circumstance. This has proven extremely helpful professionally and personally."

Lyudmila Gavryushova

Lyudmila Gavryushova

"Many of the courses I took in HESO contributed to my understanding of how political and socio-economic factors affect populations and individuals. In my last year, I worked as a research assistant in the Department of Social Sciences. My duties included researching, analysing and reporting on assigned topics such as patient advocacy and health advocacy programs across the world.

"I currently work as a Senior Intake Coordinator at Seiden Health Management Inc. I deal with accident claims from insurance companies and coordinate in-person medical evaluations with a broad range of health care professionals, legal representatives and insurance adjusters. Upon review of the patient's medical documents and clinical notes, I come to an understanding of the injuries sustained in the accident and look for an appropriate doctor or therapist to assess the client. I am also the co-chair on our Health and Safety Committee where I do monthly health and safety inspections and lead quarterly meetings."